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Coordinates: 10°S52°W / 10°S 52°W / -10; -52

Federative Republic of Brazil

República Federativa do Brasil  (Portuguese)
Motto: Ordem e Progresso (Portuguese)
"Order and Progress"
Anthem: "Hino Nacional Brasileiro" (Portuguese)
"Brazilian National Anthem"

Flag anthem: "Hino à Bandeira Nacional" (Portuguese) [1]
"National Flag Anthem"
National seal
BRA orthographic.svg
Capital Brasília
15°47′S47°52′W / 15.783°S 47.867°W / -15.783; -47.867
Largest city São Paulo
23°33′S46°38′W / 23.550°S 46.633°W / -23.550; -46.633
Recognised regional languages
Official language
and national language
Portuguese [3]
Ethnic groups
(2010) [4]
(2010) [5]
Demonym(s) Brazilian
Government Federal presidential constitutional republic
Jair Bolsonaro
Hamilton Mourão
Rodrigo Maia
Davi Alcolumbre
Dias Toffoli
Legislature National Congress
Federal Senate
Chamber of Deputies
7 September 1822
29 August 1825
15 November 1889
11 November 1903
5 October 1988
8,515,767 km2 (3,287,956 sq mi)(5th)
 Water (%)
 2019 estimate
210,147,125 [6] (6th)
25/km2 (64.7/sq mi)(200th)
GDP  (PPP)2020 estimate
Increase2.svg $3.596 trillion [7] (8th)
 Per capita
Increase2.svg $17,016 [7] (80th)
GDP  (nominal)2020 estimate
Increase2.svg $1.893 trillion [7] (9th)
 Per capita
Increase2.svg $8,955 [7] (73rd)
Gini  (2018)Increase Negative.svg 53.9 [8]
high ·  10th
HDI  (2018)Increase2.svg 0.761 [9]
high ·  79th
Currency Real (R$) (BRL)
Time zone UTC−2 to −5 (BRT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (CE)
Driving side right
Calling code +55
ISO 3166 code BR
Internet TLD .br

Brazil (Portuguese : Brasil; Brazilian Portuguese:  [bɾaˈziw] ), [nt 1] officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: Loudspeaker.svg República Federativa do Brasil ), [10] is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) [11] and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; [12] [13] it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world; [14] as well as the most populous Roman Catholic-majority country.


Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 mi). [15] It borders all other countries in South America except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. [16] Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. [15] This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.

Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808 when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. [17] Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. [18]

Brazil is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank [19] and a newly industrialized country, [20] with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. It is considered an advanced emerging economy. [21] It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, and eight by PPP measures. [22] [23] It is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. [24] Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great [25] [26] [27] or a middle power in international affairs. [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [26] On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power [32] and a potential superpower by several analysts. [33] [34] [35] Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Mercosul, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.


The word "Brazil" likely comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. [36] In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa ("ember") and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium). [37] As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was highly valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. [38] Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples (mostly Tupi) along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders (mostly Portuguese, but also French) in return for assorted European consumer goods. [39]

The official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross" (Terra da Santa Cruz), [40] but European sailors and merchants commonly called it simply the "Land of Brazil" (Terra do Brasil) because of the brazilwood trade. [41] The popular appellation eclipsed and eventually supplanted the official Portuguese name. Some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". [42]

In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama". This was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees". [43]


Pre-Cabraline era

Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara (31729373313).jpg
Cave painting at Serra da Capivara National Park, one of the largest and oldest concentrations of prehistoric sites in the Americas. [44]
Burian urn, AD 1000-1250, Marajoara culture - AMNH - DSC06177 b.jpg
Burial urn, Marajoara culture, American Museum of Natural History. That culture appeared to flourish between 400 AD and 1400 AD, based on archeological studies. [45]

Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. [46] [47]

The earliest pottery ever found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago (6000 BC). The pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. [48] The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 400 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, and complex social formations such as chiefdoms. [45]

Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people, [49] mostly semi-nomadic, who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. The indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups (e.g. the Tupis, Guaranis, Gês and Arawaks). The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, and there were also many subdivisions of the other groups. [50]

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the boundaries between these groups and their subgroups were marked by wars that arose from differences in culture, language and moral beliefs. [51] These wars also involved large-scale military actions on land and water, with cannibalistic rituals on prisoners of war. [52] [53] While heredity had some weight, leadership status was more subdued over time, than allocated in succession ceremonies and conventions. [51] Slavery among the Indians had a different meaning than it had for Europeans, since it originated from a diverse socioeconomic organization, in which asymmetries were translated into kinship relations. [54]

Portuguese colonization

Representation of the landing of Pedro Alvares Cabral in Porto Seguro, 1500. Painting of 1922. Desembarque de Pedro Alvares Cabral em Porto Seguro em 1500 by Oscar Pereira da Silva (1865-1939).jpg
Representation of the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in Porto Seguro, 1500. Painting of 1922.

The land now called Brazil was claimed for the Portuguese Empire on 22 April 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. [55] The Portuguese encountered indigenous peoples divided into several tribes, most of whom spoke languages of the Tupi–Guarani family, and fought among themselves. [56] Though the first settlement was founded in 1532, colonization effectively began in 1534, when King John III of Portugal divided the territory into the fifteen private and autonomous Captaincy Colonies of Brazil. [57] [58]

However, the decentralized and unorganized tendencies of the captaincy colonies proved problematic, and in 1549 the Portuguese king restructured them into the Governorate General of Brazil in the city of Salvador, which became the capital of a single and centralized Portuguese colony in South America. [58] [59] In the first two centuries of colonization, Indigenous and European groups lived in constant war, establishing opportunistic alliances in order to gain advantages against each other. [60] [61] [62] [63] By the mid-16th century, cane sugar had become Brazil's most important export, [56] [64] and slaves purchased in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the slave market of Western Africa [65] (not only those from Portuguese allies of their colonies in Angola and Mozambique), had become its largest import, [66] [67] to cope with plantations of sugarcane, due to increasing international demand for Brazilian sugar. [68] [69]

Painting showing the arrest of Tiradentes; he was sentenced to death for his involvement in the best known movement for independence in Colonial Brazil. Painting of 1914. Antonio Parreiras - Prisao de Tiradentes, 1914.jpg
Painting showing the arrest of Tiradentes; he was sentenced to death for his involvement in the best known movement for independence in Colonial Brazil. Painting of 1914.

By the end of the 17th century, sugarcane exports began to decline, [70] and the discovery of gold by bandeirantes in the 1690s would become the new backbone of the colony's economy, fostering a Brazilian Gold Rush [71] which attracted thousands of new settlers to Brazil from Portugal and all Portuguese colonies around the world. [72] This increased level of immigration in turn caused some conflicts between newcomers and old settlers. [73]

Portuguese expeditions known as Bandeiras gradually advanced the Portugal colonial original frontiers in South America to approximately the current Brazilian borders. [74] [75] In this era other European powers tried to colonize parts of Brazil, in incursions that the Portuguese had to fight, notably the French in Rio during the 1560s, in Maranhão during the 1610s, and the Dutch in Bahia and Pernambuco, during the Dutch–Portuguese War, after the end of Iberian Union. [76]

The Portuguese colonial administration in Brazil had two objectives that would ensure colonial order and the monopoly of Portugal's wealthiest and largest colony: to keep under control and eradicate all forms of slave rebellion and resistance, such as the Quilombo of Palmares, [77] and to repress all movements for autonomy or independence, such as the Minas Conspiracy. [78]

United Kingdom with Portugal

The Acclamation of King Joao VI of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves in Rio de Janeiro, 6 February 1818 Aclamacao do rei Dom Joao VI no Rio de Janeiro.jpg
The Acclamation of King João VI of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves in Rio de Janeiro, 6 February 1818

In late 1807, Spanish and Napoleonic forces threatened the security of continental Portugal, causing Prince Regent João, in the name of Queen Maria I, to move the royal court from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. [79] There they established some of Brazil's first financial institutions, such as its local stock exchanges, [80] and its National Bank, additionally ending the Portuguese monopoly on Brazilian trade and opening Brazil to other nations. In 1809, in retaliation for being forced into exile, the Prince Regent ordered the Portuguese conquest of French Guiana. [81]

With the end of the Peninsular War in 1814, the courts of Europe demanded that Queen Maria I and Prince Regent João return to Portugal, deeming it unfit for the head of an ancient European monarchy to reside in a colony. In 1815, to justify continuing to live in Brazil, where the royal court had thrived for six years, the Crown established the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, thus creating a pluricontinental transatlantic monarchic state. [82] However, the leadership in Portugal, resentful of the new status of its larger colony, continued to demand the return of court to Lisbon (v. Liberal Revolution of 1820). In 1821, acceding to the demands of revolutionaries who had taken the city of Porto, [83] D. João VI departed for Lisbon. There he swore an oath to the new constitution, leaving his son, Prince Pedro de Alcântara, as Regent of the Kingdom of Brazil. [84]

Independent empire

Declaration of the Brazilian independence by Prince Pedro (later Emperor Pedro I) on 7 September 1822. Independence of Brazil 1888.jpg
Declaration of the Brazilian independence by Prince Pedro (later Emperor Pedro I) on 7 September 1822.

Tensions between Portuguese and Brazilians increased, and the Portuguese Cortes, guided by the new political regime imposed by the 1820 Liberal Revolution, tried to re-establish Brazil as a colony. [85] The Brazilians refused to yield, and Prince Pedro decided to stand with them, declaring the country's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822. [86] A month later, Prince Pedro was declared the first Emperor of Brazil, with the royal title of Dom Pedro I, resulting in the foundation of the Empire of Brazil. [87]

The Brazilian War of Independence, which had already begun along this process, spread through the northern, northeastern regions and in Cisplatina province. [88] The last Portuguese soldiers surrendered on 8 March 1824; [89] Portugal officially recognized Brazil on 29 August 1825. [90]

On 7 April 1831, worn down by years of administrative turmoil and political dissent with both liberal and conservative sides of politics, including an attempt of republican secession, [91] and unreconciled to the way that absolutists in Portugal had given in the succession of King John VI, Pedro I went to Portugal to reclaim his daughter's crown, abdicating the Brazilian throne in favor of his five-year-old son and heir (who thus became the Empire's second monarch, with the royal title of Dom Pedro II). [92]

Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil between 1831 and 1889. Pedro Americo - D. Pedro II na abertura da Assembleia Geral.jpg
Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil between 1831 and 1889.

As the new Emperor could not exert his constitutional powers until he came of age, a regency was set up by the National Assembly. [93] In the absence of a charismatic figure who could represent a moderate face of power, during this period a series of localized rebellions took place, such as the Cabanagem in Grão-Pará Province, the Malê Revolt in Salvador da Bahia, the Balaiada (Maranhão), the Sabinada (Bahia), and the Ragamuffin War, which began in Rio Grande do Sul and was supported by Giuseppe Garibaldi. These emerged from the dissatisfaction of the provinces with the central power, coupled with old and latent social tensions peculiar to a vast, slaveholding and newly independent nation state. [94] This period of internal political and social upheaval, which included the Praieira revolt in Pernambuco, was overcome only at the end of the 1840s, years after the end of the regency, which occurred with the premature coronation of Pedro II in 1841. [95]

During the last phase of the monarchy, internal political debate centered on the issue of slavery. The Atlantic slave trade was abandoned in 1850, [96] as a result of the British Aberdeen Act, but only in May 1888 after a long process of internal mobilization and debate for an ethical and legal dismantling of slavery in the country, was the institution formally abolished. [97]

The foreign-affairs policies of the monarchy dealt with issues with the countries of the Southern Cone with whom Brazil had borders. Long after the Cisplatine War that resulted in independence for Uruguay, [98] Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II. These were the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the devastating Paraguayan War, the largest war effort in Brazilian history. [99] [100]

Although there was no desire among the majority of Brazilians to change the country's form of government, [101] on 15 November 1889, in disagreement with the majority of Army officers, as well as with rural and financial elites (for different reasons), the monarchy was overthrown by a military coup. [102] 15 November is now Republic Day, a national holiday. [103]

Early republic

Proclamation of the Republic, 1893, oil on canvas by Benedito Calixto. Proclamacao da Republica by Benedito Calixto 1893.jpg
Proclamation of the Republic , 1893, oil on canvas by Benedito Calixto.

The early republican government was nothing more than a military dictatorship, with army dominating affairs both in Rio de Janeiro and in the states. Freedom of the press disappeared and elections were controlled by those in power. [104] Not until 1894, following an economic crisis and a military one, did civilians take power, remaining there until October 1930. [105] [106] [107]

If in relation to its foreign policy, the country in this first republican period maintained a relative balance characterized by a success in resolving border disputes with neighboring countries, [108] only broken by the Acre War (1899–1902) and its involvement in World War I (1914–1918), [109] [110] [111] followed by a failed attempt to exert a prominent role in the League of Nations; [112] Internally, from the crisis of Encilhamento [113] [114] [115] and the Armada Revolts, [116] a prolonged cycle of financial, political and social instability began until the 1920s, keeping the country besieged by various rebellions, both civilian [117] [118] [119] and military. [120] [121] [122]

50o Aniversario da Republica Brasileira.png
In half of the first 100 years of republic, the Army exercised power directly or through figures like Getúlio Vargas (center).
Soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force greet Italian civilians in Massarosa, during World War II. Brazil was the only independent Latin American country to send ground troops to fight in WWII.

Little by little, a cycle of general instability sparked by these crises undermined the regime to such an extent that in the wake of the murder of his running mate, the defeated opposition presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas, supported by most of the military, successfully led the October 1930 Coup. [123] [124] Vargas and the military were supposed to assume power temporarily, but instead closed the Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the states' governors with their own supporters. [125] [126]

In the 1930s, three failed attempts to remove Vargas and his supporters from power occurred. The first was the Constitutionalist Revolution in 1932, led by the Paulista oligarchy. The second was a Communist uprising in November 1935, and the last one a putsch attempt by local fascists in May 1938. [127] [128] [129] The 1935 uprising created a security crisis in which the Congress transferred more power to the executive. The 1937 coup d'état resulted in the cancellation of the 1938 election, formalized Vargas as dictator, beginning the Estado Novo era, which was noted for government brutality and censorship of the press. [130]

Foreign policy during the Vargas years was marked by the antecedents[ clarification needed ] and World War II. Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, when the country entered on the allied side, [131] [132] after suffering retaliation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in a strategic dispute over the South Atlantic. [133] In addition to its participation in the battle of the Atlantic, Brazil also sent an expeditionary force to fight in the Italian campaign. [134]

With the Allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes in Europe, Vargas's position became unsustainable and he was swiftly overthrown in another military coup, with democracy "reinstated" by the same army that had ended it 15 years earlier. [135] Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis, after having returned to power by election in 1950. [136] [137]

Contemporary era

Several brief interim governments followed Vargas's suicide. [138] Juscelino Kubitschek became president in 1956 and assumed a conciliatory posture towards the political opposition that allowed him to govern without major crises. [139] The economy and industrial sector grew remarkably, [140] but his greatest achievement was the construction of the new capital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960. [141]

Construcao do Congresso Nacional Esplanada dos Ministerios 1959-10.jpg
Construction of the building of National Congress of Brazil in Brasília, the new capital, 1959.

Kubitschek's successor, Jânio Quadros, resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office. [142] His vice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strong political opposition [143] and was deposed in April 1964 by a coup that resulted in a military regime. [144]

The new regime was intended to be transitory [145] but gradually closed in on itself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act in 1968. [146] Oppression was not limited to those who resorted to guerrilla tactics to fight the regime, but also reached institutional opponents, artists, journalists and other members of civil society, [147] [148] inside and outside the country through the infamous "Operation Condor". [149] [150] Despite its brutality, like other authoritarian regimes, due to an economic boom, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached a peak in popularity in the early 1970s. [151]

Slowly, however, the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power that had not slowed the repression, even after the defeat of the leftist guerrillas, [152] plus the inability to deal with the economic crises of the period and popular pressure, made an opening policy inevitable, which from the regime side was led by Generals Ernesto Geisel and Golbery do Couto e Silva. [153] With the enactment of the Amnesty Law in 1979, Brazil began a slow return to democracy, which was completed during the 1980s. [95]

Ulysses Guimarães holding the Constitution of 1988 in his hands.
Protesto no Congresso Nacional do Brasil, 17 de junho de 2013.jpg
Protesters climbed the National Congress during the massive 2013 protests.

Civilians returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency. He became unpopular during his tenure through failure to control the economic crisis and hyperinflation he inherited from the military regime. [154] Sarney's unsuccessful government led to the election in 1989 of the almost-unknown Fernando Collor, subsequently impeached by the National Congress in 1992. [155]

Collor was succeeded by his vice-president, Itamar Franco, who appointed Fernando Henrique Cardoso Minister of Finance. In 1994, Cardoso produced a highly successful Plano Real, [156] that, after decades of failed economic plans made by previous governments attempting to curb hyperinflation, finally stabilized the Brazilian economy. [157] [158] Cardoso won the 1994 election, and again in 1998. [159]

The peaceful transition of power from Cardoso to his main opposition leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006), was seen as proof that Brazil had achieved a long-sought political stability. [160] [161] However, sparked by indignation and frustrations accumulated over decades from corruption, police brutality, inefficiencies of the political establishment and public service, numerous peaceful protests erupted in Brazil from the middle of first term of Dilma Rousseff, who had succeeded Lula after winning election in 2010. [162] [163]

Workers being trained to disinfect buses in Olinda, Pernambuco, during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020. Capacitacao dos profissionais da Saude que atuarao nos terminais de onibus - 49667698972.jpg
Workers being trained to disinfect buses in Olinda, Pernambuco, during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020.

Enhanced by political and economic crises with evidence of involvement by politicians from all the primary political parties in several bribery and tax evasion schemes, [164] [165] with large street protests for and against her, [166] Rousseff was impeached by the Brazilian Congress in 2016. [167] [168] In 2017, the Supreme Court asked for the investigation of 71 Brazilian lawmakers and nine ministers in President Michel Temer's cabinet allegedly linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal. [169] President Temer is himself accused of corruption. [170] In 2018, 62% of the population on a poll claimed that corruption was Brazil's biggest problem. [171]

On 25 February 2020, the COVID-19 virus was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020. [172] On 19 June 2020, the country reported its 1 millionth case; at this time, there had been nearly 49,000 reported deaths. [173] [174] As of July 2020, Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world behind the US, but ahead of India.


Topographic map of Brazil Brazil topo.jpg
Topographic map of Brazil

Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior, [175] sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and France (French overseas region of French Guiana) to the north. It shares a border with every South American country except Ecuador and Chile. [15]

It also encompasses a number of oceanic archipelagos, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. [15] Its size, relief, climate, and natural resources make Brazil geographically diverse. [175] Including its Atlantic islands, Brazil lies between latitudes 6°N and 34°S, and longitudes 28° and 74°W. [15]

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and third largest in the Americas, with a total area of 8,515,767.049 km2 (3,287,956 sq mi), [176] including 55,455 km2 (21,411 sq mi) of water. [15] It spans four time zones; from UTC−5 comprising the state of Acre and the westernmost portion of Amazonas, to UTC−4 in the western states, to UTC−3 in the eastern states (the national time) and UTC−2 in the Atlantic islands. [177]

Brazil is the only country in the world that has the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn running through it. Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of the terrain lies between 200 metres (660 ft) and 800 metres (2,600 ft) in elevation. [178] The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country. [178] The northwestern parts of the plateau consist of broad, rolling terrain broken by low, rounded hills. [178]

Amanhecer no Hercules --.jpg
Rocks formations and the Dedo de Deus (God's Finger) peak in the background, Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Rio de Janeiro state
Caninde de Sao Francisco-002.jpg
Canion of Canindé de São Francisco, Sergipe, a geological accident carved by the São Francisco River.

The southeastern section is more rugged, with a complex mass of ridges and mountain ranges reaching elevations of up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). [178] These ranges include the Mantiqueira and Espinhaço mountains and the Serra do Mar. [178]

In the north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 2,994 metres (9,823 ft), and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean. [15]

Brazil has a dense and complex system of rivers, one of the world's most extensive, with eight major drainage basins, all of which drain into the Atlantic. [179] Major rivers include the Amazon (the world's second-longest river and the largest in terms of volume of water), the Paraná and its major tributary the Iguaçu (which includes the Iguazu Falls), the Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and Tapajós rivers. [179]


Brazil map of Koppen climate classification zones Koppen climate types of Brazil.svg
Brazil map of Köppen climate classification zones

The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. [15] According to the Köppen system, Brazil hosts six major climatic subtypes: desert, equatorial, tropical, semiarid, oceanic and subtropical. The different climatic conditions produce environments ranging from equatorial rainforests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil. [180] Many regions have starkly different microclimates. [181] [182]

An equatorial climate characterizes much of northern Brazil. There is no real dry season, but there are some variations in the period of the year when most rain falls. [180] Temperatures average 25 °C (77 °F), [182] with more significant temperature variation between night and day than between seasons. [181]

Over central Brazil rainfall is more seasonal, characteristic of a savanna climate. [181] This region is as extensive as the Amazon basin but has a very different climate as it lies farther south at a higher altitude. [180] In the interior northeast, seasonal rainfall is even more extreme. [183]

The semiarid climatic region generally receives less than 800 millimetres (31.5 in) of rain, [183] most of which generally falls in a period of three to five months of the year [184] and occasionally less than this, creating long periods of drought. [181] Brazil's 1877–78 Grande Seca (Great Drought), the worst in Brazil's history, [185] caused approximately half a million deaths. [186] A similarly devastating drought occurred in 1915. [187]

South of Bahia, near the coasts, and more southerly most of the state of São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, with rain falling throughout the year. [180] The south enjoys subtropical conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); [182] winter frosts and snowfall are not rare in the highest areas. [180] [181]

Biodiversity and environment

Brazil's large territory comprises different ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world, [188] with the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, sustaining the greatest biodiversity. [189] In the south, the Araucaria pine forest grows under temperate conditions. [189] The rich wildlife of Brazil reflects the variety of natural habitats. Scientists estimate that the total number of plant and animal species in Brazil could approach four million, mostly invertebrates. [189]

Larger mammals include carnivores pumas, jaguars, ocelots, rare bush dogs, and foxes, and herbivores peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, opossums, and armadillos. Deer are plentiful in the south, and many species of New World monkeys are found in the northern rain forests. [189] [190] Concern for the environment has grown in response to global interest in environmental issues. [191] Brazil's Amazon Basin is home to an extremely diverse array of fish species, including the red-bellied piranha.

By 2013, Brazil's "dramatic policy-driven reduction in Amazon Basin deforestation" was a "global exception in terms of forest change", according to scientific journal Science . [192] :852 From 2003 to 2011, compared to all other countries in the world, Brazil had the "largest decline in annual forest loss", as indicated in the study using high-resolution satellite maps showing global forest cover changes. [192] :850 The annual loss of forest cover decreased from a 2003/2004 record high of more than 40,000 square kilometres (4,000×10^3 ha; 9.9×10^6 acres; 15,000 sq mi) to a 2010/2011 low of under 20,000 square kilometres (2,000×10^3 ha; 4.9×10^6 acres; 7,700 sq mi), [192] :850 reversing widespread deforestation [192] :852 from the 1970s to 2003.

Amazon CIAT (5).jpg
The Amazon rainforest, the most biodiverse rainforest in the world.

However, in 2019, when the Bolsonaro government came to power, the rate of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest increased sharply threatening to reach a tipping point after it the forest will collapse, having severe consequences for the world. (see Tipping points in the climate system) This can also complicate the trade agreement with the European Union [193] Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Bolsonaro criticised what he described as sensational reporting in the international media. "It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception, as confirmed by scientists, to say that our Amazonian forests are the lungs of world. Using these fallacies, certain countries instead of helping, embarked on the media lies and behaved in a disrespectful manner and with a colonialist spirit." he said. President Jair Bolsonaro asserted Brazil's sovereignty over the Amazon. [194]

According to a 2008 GreenPeace article, the natural heritage of Brazil is severely threatened by cattle ranching and agriculture, logging, mining, resettlement, oil and gas extraction, over-fishing, wildlife trade, dams and infrastructure, water pollution, climate change, fire, and invasive species. [188] In many areas of the country, the natural environment is threatened by development. [195] The construction of highways has opened up previously remote areas for agriculture and settlement; dams have flooded valleys and inundated wildlife habitats; and mines have scarred and polluted the landscape. [191] [196] At least 70 dams are said to be planned for the Amazon region, including the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. [197] In summer 2019, 2 states in Brazil Paraná and Santa Catarina banned fracking, what will have positive effects on the climate and water quality, because the shale gas and shale oil reserves in the state of Parana are the larger in the southern hemisphere. [198] [199]

Government and politics

Palacio do Planalto ("Plateau Palace"), the official workplace of the President of Brazil. Palacio do Planalto GGFD8938.jpg
Palácio do Planalto ("Plateau Palace"), the official workplace of the President of Brazil.

The form of government is a democratic federative republic, with a presidential system. [17] The president is both head of state and head of government of the Union and is elected for a four-year term, [17] with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term. The current president is Jair Bolsonaro. The previous president, Michel Temer, replaced Dilma Rousseff after her impeachment. [200] The President appoints the Ministers of State, who assist in government. [17] Legislative houses in each political entity are the main source of law in Brazil. The National Congress is the Federation's bicameral legislature, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. Judiciary authorities exercise jurisdictional duties almost exclusively. Brazil is a democracy, according to the Democracy Index 2010. [201]

The political-administrative organization of the Federative Republic of Brazil comprises the Union, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities. [17] The Union, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities, are the "spheres of government". The federation is set on five fundamental principles: [17] sovereignty, citizenship, dignity of human beings, the social values of labor and freedom of enterprise, and political pluralism. The classic tripartite branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial under a checks and balances system) are formally established by the Constitution. [17] The executive and legislative are organized independently in all three spheres of government, while the judiciary is organized only at the federal and state and Federal District spheres.

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National Congress, seat of the legislative branch.

All members of the executive and legislative branches are directly elected. [202] [203] [204] Judges and other judicial officials are appointed after passing entry exams. [202] For most of its democratic history, Brazil has had a multi-party system, proportional representation. Voting is compulsory for the literate between 18 and 70 years old and optional for illiterates and those between 16 and 18 or beyond 70. [17]

Together with several smaller parties, four political parties stand out: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) and Democrats (DEM). Fifteen political parties are represented in Congress. It is common for politicians to switch parties, and thus the proportion of congressional seats held by particular parties changes regularly. [205] Almost all governmental and administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated to the Executive.


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Supreme Federal Court of Brazil serves primarily as the Constitutional Court of the country

Brazilian law is based on the civil law legal system [206] and civil law concepts prevail over common law practice. Most of Brazilian law is codified, although non-codified statutes also represent a substantial part, playing a complementary role. Court decisions set out interpretive guidelines; however, they are seldom binding on other specific cases. Doctrinal works and the works of academic jurists have strong influence in law creation and in law cases.

The legal system is based on the Federal Constitution, promulgated on 5 October 1988, and the fundamental law of Brazil. All other legislation and court decisions must conform to its rules. [207] As of April 2007, there have been 53 amendments. States have their own constitutions, which must not contradict the Federal Constitution. [208] Municipalities and the Federal District have "organic laws" (leis orgânicas), which act in a similar way to constitutions. [209] Legislative entities are the main source of statutes, although in certain matters judiciary and executive bodies may enact legal norms. [17] Jurisdiction is administered by the judiciary entities, although in rare situations the Federal Constitution allows the Federal Senate to pass on legal judgments. [17] There are also specialized military, labor, and electoral courts. [17] The highest court is the Supreme Federal Court.

This system has been criticized over the last few decades for the slow pace of decision-making. Lawsuits on appeal may take several years to resolve, and in some cases more than a decade elapses before definitive rulings. [210] Nevertheless, the Supreme Federal Tribunal was the first court in the world to transmit its sessions on television, and also via YouTube. [211] [212] More recently, in December 2009, the Supreme Court adopted Twitter to display items on the day planner of the ministers, to inform the daily actions of the Court and the most important decisions made by them. [213]


The armed forces of Brazil are the largest in Latin America by active personnel and the largest in terms of military equipment. [214] It consists of the Brazilian Army (including the Army Aviation Command), the Brazilian Navy (including the Marine Corps and Naval Aviation), and the Brazilian Air Force. Brazil's conscription policy gives it one of the world's largest military forces, estimated at more than 1.6 million reservists annually. [215]

Numbering close to 236,000 active personnel, [216] the Brazilian Army has the largest number of armored vehicles in South America, including armored transports and tanks. [217] It is also unique in Latin America for its large, elite forces specializing in unconventional missions, the Brazilian Special Operations Command, [218] [219] [220] and the versatile Strategic Rapid Action Force, made up of highly mobilized and prepared Special Operations Brigade, Infantry Brigade Parachutist, [221] [222] 1st Jungle Infantry Battalion (Airmobile) [223] and 12th Brigade Light Infantry (Airmobile) [224] able to act anywhere in the country, on short notice, to counter external aggression. [225] The states' Military Police and the Military Firefighters Corps are described as an ancillary forces of the Army by the constitution, but are under the control of each state's governor. [17]

Brazil's navy, the second-largest in the Americas, once operated some of the most powerful warships in the world with the two Minas Geraes-class dreadnoughts, which sparked a South American dreadnought race between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. [226] Today, it is a green water force and has a group of specialized elite in retaking ships and naval facilities, GRUMEC, unit specially trained to protect Brazilian oil platforms along its coast. [227] It is the only navy in Latin America that operates an aircraft carrier, PHM Atlantico, [228] and one of the ten navies of the world to operate one. [217]

The Air Force is the largest in Latin America and has about 700 manned aircraft in service and effective about 67,000 personnel. [229]

Brazil has not been invaded since 1865 during the Paraguayan War. [230] Additionally, Brazil has no contested territorial disputes with any of its neighbors [231] and neither does it have rivalries, like Chile and Bolivia have with each other. [232] [233] The Brazilian military has also three times intervened militarily to overthrow the Brazilian government. [234] It has built a tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping missions such as in Haiti, East Timor and Central African Republic. [235] Brazil signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. [236]

Foreign policy

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Itamaraty Palace, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Brazil's international relations are based on Article 4 of the Federal Constitution, which establishes non-intervention, self-determination, international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of conflicts as the guiding principles of Brazil's relationship with other countries and multilateral organizations. [237]

According to the Constitution, the President has ultimate authority over foreign policy, while the Congress is tasked with reviewing and considering all diplomatic nominations and international treaties, as well as legislation relating to Brazilian foreign policy. [238]

Brazil's foreign policy is a by-product of the country's position as a regional power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world power. [239] Brazilian foreign policy has generally been based on the principles of multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries. [240]

Brazil is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, an international organization and political association of Lusophone nations across four continents, where Portuguese is an official language.

An increasingly well-developed tool of Brazil's foreign policy is providing aid as a donor to other developing countries. [241] Brazil does not just use its growing economic strength to provide financial aid, but it also provides high levels of expertise and most importantly of all, a quiet non-confrontational diplomacy to improve governance levels. [241] Total aid is estimated to be around $1 billion per year, which includes: [241]

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Diplomatic missions of Brazil

In addition, Brazil manages a peacekeeping mission in Haiti ($350 million) and makes in-kind contributions to the World Food Programme ($300 million). [241] This is in addition to humanitarian assistance and contributions to multilateral development agencies. The scale of this aid places it on par with China and India. [241] The Brazilian South-South aid has been described as a "global model in waiting." [242]

Law enforcement and crime

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Field agents of the Federal Police's Tactical Operations Command.

In Brazil, the Constitution establishes five different police agencies for law enforcement: Federal Police Department, Federal Highway Police, Federal Railroad Police, Military Police and Civil Police. Of these, the first three are affiliated with federal authorities and the last two are subordinate to state governments. All police forces are the responsibility of the executive branch of any of the federal or state powers. [17] The National Public Security Force also can act in public disorder situations arising anywhere in the country. [243]

The country still has above-average levels of violent crime and particularly high levels of gun violence and homicide. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the number of 32 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest rates of homicide of the world. [244] The number considered tolerable by the WHO is about 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. [245] In 2018, Brazil had a record 63,880 murders. [246] However, there are differences between the crime rates in the Brazilian states. While in São Paulo the homicide rate registered in 2013 was 10.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, in Alagoas it was 64.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. [247]

Brazil also has high levels of incarceration and the third largest prison population in the world (behind only China and the United States), with an estimated total of approximately 700,000 prisoners around the country (June 2014), an increase of about 300% compared to the index registered in 1992. [248] The high number of prisoners eventually overloaded the Brazilian prison system, leading to a shortfall of about 200,000 accommodations. [249]

Administrative divisions

States of Brazil and Regions of Brazil

Brazil is a federation composed of 26 states, one federal district, and the 5570 municipalities. [17] States have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Federal government. They have a governor and a unicameral legislative body elected directly by their voters. They also have independent Courts of Law for common justice. Despite this, states have much less autonomy to create their own laws than in the United States. For example, criminal and civil laws can be voted by only the federal bicameral Congress and are uniform throughout the country. [17]

The states and the federal district may be grouped into regions: Northern, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast and Southern. The Brazilian regions are merely geographical, not political or administrative divisions, and they do not have any specific form of government. Although defined by law, Brazilian regions are useful mainly for statistical purposes, and also to define the distribution of federal funds in development projects.

Municipalities, as the states, have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Union and state government. [17] Each has a mayor and an elected legislative body, but no separate Court of Law. Indeed, a Court of Law organized by the state can encompass many municipalities in a single justice administrative division called comarca (county).


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Quotes panel in the interior of B3, in São Paulo, one of the top 20 stock exchanges by market capitalization.
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São Paulo, the country's main financial center

Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world's ninth largest economy and the eighth largest in purchasing power parity (PPP) according to 2018 estimates. Brazil has a mixed economy with abundant natural resources. After rapid growth in preceding decades, the country entered an ongoing recession in 2014 amid a political corruption scandal and nationwide protests.

Its Gross domestic product (PPP) per capita was $15,919 in 2017 [250] putting Brazil in the 77th position according to IMF data. Active in agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors Brazil has a labor force of over 107 million (ranking 6th worldwide) and unemployment of 6.2% (ranking 64th worldwide). [251]

The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is one of a group of four emerging economies called the BRIC countries. [252] Brazil has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. [24]

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Soybean crop in Rondonópolis, Mato Grosso. Brazil is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world. [253]
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The KC-390, developed by Embraer.
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P-51, an oil platform of Petrobras
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The Itaipu Dam on the Paraná River, located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, is the second largest of the world (the first is the Three Gorges Dam, in China). Approximately 75% of the Brazilian energy matrix, one of the cleanest in the world, comes from hydropower.

Brazil's diversified economy includes agriculture, industry, and a wide range of services. [254] Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 5.1% of the GDP in 2007. [255] Brazil is one of the largest producer of oranges, coffee, sugar cane, cassava and sisal, soybeans and papayas. [256]

Industry in Brazil – from automobiles, steel and petrochemicals to computers, aircraft and consumer durables – accounted for 30.8% of the gross domestic product. [255] Industry is highly concentrated in metropolitan São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Porto Alegre, and Belo Horizonte. [257] Brazil has become the fourth largest car market in the world. [258] Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef. [259] In total, Brazil ranks 23rd worldwide in value of exports.

Brazil pegged its currency, the real, to the U.S. dollar in 1994. However, after the East Asian financial crisis, the Russian default in 1998 [260] and the series of adverse financial events that followed it, the Central Bank of Brazil temporarily changed its monetary policy to a managed float regime [261] scheme while undergoing a currency crisis, until definitively changing the exchange regime to free-float in January 1999. [262]

Brazil received an International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue package in mid-2002 of $30.4 billion, [263] a record sum at the time. Brazil's central bank repaid the IMF loan in 2005, although it was not due to be repaid until 2006. [264] One of the issues the Central Bank of Brazil recently dealt with was an excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country, which may have contributed to a fall in the value of the U.S. dollar against the real during that period. [265] Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in production, is estimated to be $193.8 billion for 2007. [266] Inflation monitoring and control currently plays a major part in the Central bank's role in setting short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure. [267]

Between 1993 and 2010, 7012 mergers and acquisitions with a total known value of $707 billion with the involvement of Brazilian firms were announced. [268] The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with US$115 billion in transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Brazilian companies was the Cia. Vale do Rio Doce acquisition of Inco in a tender offer valued at US$18.9 billion.

Corruption costs Brazil almost $41 billion a year alone in 2010, with 69.9% of the country's firms identifying the issue as a major constraint in successfully penetrating the global market. [269] Local government corruption is so prevalent that voters perceive it as a problem only if it surpasses certain levels, and only if a local media e.g. a radio station is present to divulge the findings of corruption charges. [270] Initiatives, like this exposure, strengthen awareness which is indicated by the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; ranking Brazil 69th out of 178 countries in 2012. [271] The purchasing power in Brazil is eroded by the so-called Brazil cost. [272]

Brazil also has a large cooperative sector that provides 50% of the food in the country. [273] The world's largest healthcare cooperative Unimed is also located in Brazil, and accounts for 32% of the healthcare insurance market in the country. [274]


Brazil is the world's tenth largest energy consumer with much of its energy coming from renewable sources, particularly hydroelectricity and ethanol; the Itaipu Dam is the world's largest hydroelectric plant by energy generation. [275] The first car with an ethanol engine was produced in 1978 and the first airplane engine running on ethanol in 2005. [276]

Recent oil discoveries in the Pre-salt layer have opened the door for a large increase in oil production. [277] The governmental agencies responsible for the energy policy are the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Council for Energy Policy, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels, and the National Agency of Electricity. [278]


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Sancho Bay in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Pernambuco, voted the most beautiful beach in the world by TripAdvisor. [279]
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Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul. The rivers in the region are known for their crystal clear waters.

Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of the country. The country had 6.36 million visitors in 2015, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the main destination in South America and second in Latin America after Mexico. [280] Revenues from international tourists reached US$6 billion in 2010, showing a recovery from the 2008–2009 economic crisis. [281] Historical records of 5.4 million visitors and US$6.8 billion in receipts were reached in 2011. [282] [283]

Natural areas are its most popular tourism product, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural tourism in Minas Gerais and business trips to São Paulo. [284]

In terms of the 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to develop business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, Brazil ranked in the 28st place at the world's level, third in the Americas, after Canada and United States. [285] [286]

Brazil's main competitive advantages are its natural resources, which ranked 1st on this criteria out of all countries considered, and ranked 23rd for its cultural resources, due to its many World Heritage sites. The TTCI report notes Brazil's main weaknesses: its ground transport infrastructure remains underdeveloped (ranked 116th), with the quality of roads ranking in 105th place; and the country continues to suffer from a lack of price competitiveness (ranked 114th), due in part to high ticket taxes and airport charges, as well as high prices and high taxation. Safety and security have improved significantly: 75th in 2011, up from 128th in 2008. [286]

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international travel to Brazil accelerated in 2000, particularly during 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006 a slow-down took place, and international arrivals had almost no growth in 2007–08. [287] [288] [289]

In spite of this trend, revenues from international tourism continued to rise, from USD 4 billion in 2005 to 5 billion in 2007, despite 330 000 fewer arrivals. This favorable trend is the result of the strong devaluation of the US dollar against the Brazilian Real, which began in 2004, but which makes Brazil a more expensive international destination. [290]

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The city of Rio de Janeiro is featured in tourism in Brazil.
Iguazu Falls, Paraná, at the Brazil-Argentina border. The Garganta do Diabo Walkway allows a panoramic view of the falls from the Brazilian side.

This trend changed in 2009, when both visitors and revenues fell as a result of the Great Recession of 2008–09. [291] By 2010, the industry had recovered, and arrivals grew above 2006 levels to 5.2 million international visitors, and receipts from these visitors reached US$6 billion. [281] In 2011 the historical record was reached with 5.4 million visitors and US$6.8 billion in receipts. [282] [283]

Despite continuing record-breaking international tourism revenues, the number of Brazilian tourists travelling overseas has been growing steadily since 2003, resulting in a net negative foreign exchange balance, as more money is spent abroad by Brazilians than comes in as receipts from international tourists visiting Brazil. [292]

Tourism expenditures abroad grew from US$5.8 billion in 2006, to US$8.2 billion in 2007, a 42% increase, representing a net deficit of US$3.3 billion in 2007, as compared to US$1.5 billion in 2006, a 125% increase from the previous year. [292] This trend is caused by Brazilians taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel and making relatively cheaper expenditures abroad. [292] Brazilians traveling overseas in 2006 represented 4% of the country's population. [293]

In 2005, tourism contributed with 3.2% of the country's revenues from exports of goods and services, and represented 7% of direct and indirect employment in the Brazilian economy. [294] In 2006 direct employment in the sector reached 1.9 million people. [295]

Domestic tourism is a fundamental market segment for the industry, as 51 million people traveled throughout the country in 2005, [296] and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached US$22 billion, [297] 5.6 times more receipts than international tourists in 2005.

In 2005, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, São Paulo, Florianópolis and Salvador were the most visited cities by international tourists for leisure trips. The most popular destinations for business trips were São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. [298] In 2006 Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza were the most popular destinations for business trips.


Science and technology

Technological research in Brazil is largely carried out in public universities and research institutes, with the majority of funding for basic research coming from various government agencies. [299] Brazil's most esteemed technological hubs are the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, the Butantan Institute, the Air Force's Aerospace Technical Center, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation and the INPE. [300] [301]

The Brazilian Space Agency has the most advanced space program in Latin America, with significant resources to launch vehicles, and manufacture of satellites. [302] Owner of relative technological sophistication, the country develops submarines, aircraft, as well as being involved in space research, having a Vehicle Launch Center Light and being the only country in the Southern Hemisphere the integrate team building International Space Station (ISS). [303]

The country is also a pioneer in the search for oil in deep water, from where it extracts 73% of its reserves. Uranium is enriched at the Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory, mostly for research purposes (as Brazil obtains 88% from its electricity from hydroelectricity [304] ) and the country's first nuclear submarine was delivered in 2015 (by France). [305]

Brazil is one of the three countries in Latin America [306] with an operational Synchrotron Laboratory, a research facility on physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences, and Brazil is the only Latin American country to have a semiconductor company with its own fabrication plant, the CEITEC. [307] According to the Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 of the World Economic Forum, Brazil is the world's 61st largest developer of information technology. [308]

Brazil also has a large number of outstanding scientific personalities. Among the most renowned Brazilian inventors are priests Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Landell de Moura and Francisco João de Azevedo, besides Alberto Santos-Dumont, [309] Evaristo Conrado Engelberg, [310] Manuel Dias de Abreu, [311] Andreas Pavel [312] and Nélio José Nicolai. [313]

Brazilian science is represented by the likes of César Lattes (Brazilian physicist Pathfinder of Pi Meson ), [314] Mário Schenberg (considered the greatest theoretical physicist of Brazil), [315] José Leite Lopes (only Brazilian physicist holder of the UNESCO Science Prize), [316] Artur Ávila (the first Latin American winner of the Fields Medal) [317] and Fritz Müller (pioneer in factual support of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin). [318]


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BR-116 in Guapimirim, Rio de Janeiro, the longest highway in the country, with 4,385 km (2,725 mi) of extension. [319]
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Port of Santos, the busiest port in Latin America. [320]

Brazilian roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic. The road system totaled 1.98 million km (1.23 million mi) in 2002. The total of paved roads increased from 35,496 km (22,056 mi) (22,056 mi) in 1967 to 184,140 km (114,419 mi) (114,425 mi) in 2002. [321]

The first investments in road infrastructure have given up in the 1920s, the government of Washington Luis, being pursued in the governments of Getúlio Vargas and Eurico Gaspar Dutra. [322] President Juscelino Kubitschek (1956–61), who designed and built the capital Brasília, was another supporter of highways. Kubitschek was responsible for the installation of major car manufacturers in the country (Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors arrived in Brazil during his rule) and one of the points used to attract them was support for the construction of highways. With the implementation of Fiat in 1976 ending an automobile market closed loop, from the end of the 1990s the country has received large foreign direct investments installing in its territory other major car manufacturers and utilities, such as Iveco, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Toyota among others. [323] Brazil is the seventh most important country in the auto industry. [324]

Brazil's railway system has been declining since 1945, when emphasis shifted to highway construction. The total length of railway track was 30,875 km (19,185 mi) in 2002, as compared with 31,848 km (19,789 mi) in 1970. Most of the railway system belonged to the Federal Railroad Corporation RFFSA, which was privatized in 2007. [325] The São Paulo Metro was the first underground transit system in Brazil. The other metro systems are in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Recife, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Teresina and Fortaleza.

The country has an extensive rail network of 28,538 kilometres (17,733 miles) in length, the tenth largest network in the world. [326] Currently, the Brazilian government, unlike the past, seeks to encourage this mode of transport; an example of this incentive is the project of the Rio–São Paulo high-speed rail, that will connect the two main cities of the country to carry passengers.

There are about 2,500 airports in Brazil, including landing fields: the second largest number in the world, after the United States. [327] São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, near São Paulo, is the largest and busiest airport with nearly 20 million passengers annually, while handling the vast majority of commercial traffic for the country. [328]

For freight transport waterways are of importance, e.g. the industrial zones of Manaus can be reached only by means of the Solimões–Amazonas waterway (3,250 kilometres (2,020 miles) with 6 metres (20 feet) minimum depth). The country also has 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) of waterways. [326]

Coastal shipping links widely separated parts of the country. Bolivia and Paraguay have been given free ports at Santos. Of the 36 deep-water ports, Santos, Itajaí, Rio Grande, Paranaguá, Rio de Janeiro, Sepetiba, Vitória, Suape, Manaus and São Francisco do Sul are the most important. [329] Bulk carriers have to wait up to 18 days before being serviced, container ships 36.3 hours on average. [330]


Institute of Cancer of the University of Sao Paulo Clinics Hospital, the largest hospital complex in Latin America. Fotorreportagem do ICESP (42627443635).jpg
Institute of Cancer of the University of São Paulo Clinics Hospital, the largest hospital complex in Latin America.

The Brazilian public health system, the Unified Health System (SUS), is managed and provided by all levels of government, [332] being the largest system of this type in the world. [333] On the other hand, private healthcare systems play a complementary role. [334]

Public health services are universal and offered to all citizens of the country for free. However, the construction and maintenance of health centers and hospitals are financed by taxes, and the country spends about 9% of its GDP on expenditures in the area. In 2012, Brazil had 1.85 doctors and 2.3 hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants. [335] [336]

Despite all the progress made since the creation of the universal health care system in 1988, there are still several public health problems in Brazil. In 2006, the main points to be solved were the high infant (2.51%) and maternal mortality rates (73.1 deaths per 1000 births). [337]

The number of deaths from noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (151.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) and cancer (72.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), also has a considerable impact on the health of the Brazilian population. Finally, external but preventable factors such as car accidents, violence and suicide caused 14.9% of all deaths in the country. [337] The Brazilian health system was ranked 125th among the 191 countries evaluated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000. [338]


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Historical building of the Federal University of Paraná, one of the oldest universities in Brazil, located in Curitiba
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Classroom in the main campus of the University of Campinas, São Paulo

The Federal Constitution and the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education determine that the Union, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities must manage and organize their respective education systems. Each of these public educational systems is responsible for its own maintenance, which manages funds as well as the mechanisms and funding sources. The constitution reserves 25% of the state budget and 18% of federal taxes and municipal taxes for education. [339]

According to the IBGE, in 2011, the literacy rate of the population was 90.4%, meaning that 13 million (9.6% of population) people are still illiterate in the country; functional illiteracy has reached 21.6% of the population. [340] Illiteracy is highest in the Northeast, where 19.9% of the population is illiterate. [341]

Higher education starts with undergraduate or sequential courses, which may offer different options of specialization in academic or professional careers. Depending on the choice, students can improve their educational background with courses of post-graduate studies or broad sense.

Attending an institution of higher education is required by Law of Guidelines and Bases of Education. Kindergarten, elementary and medium education are required of all students, provided the student does not hold any disability, whether physical, mental, visual or hearing.

The University of São Paulo is the second best university in Latin America, according to recent 2019 QS World University Rankings. Of the top 20 Latin American universities, eight are Brazilian. Most of them are public. [342]

Brazil's private institutions tend to be more exclusive and offer better quality education, so many high-income families send their children there. The result is a segregated educational system that reflects extreme income disparities and reinforces social inequality. However, efforts to change this are making impacts. [343]

Media and communication

Former President Dilma Rousseff at Jornal Nacional news program. Rede Globo is the world's second-largest commercial television network. Jornal Nacional 3.jpg
Former President Dilma Rousseff at Jornal Nacional news program. Rede Globo is the world's second-largest commercial television network.

The Brazilian press was officially born in Rio de Janeiro on 13 May 1808 with the creation of the Royal Printing National Press by the Prince Regent Dom João. [345]

The Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro, the first newspaper published in the country, began to circulate on 10 September 1808. [346] The largest newspapers nowadays are Folha de S.Paulo,Super Notícia, O Globo and O Estado de S. Paulo . [347]

Radio broadcasting began on 7 September 1922, with a speech by then President Pessoa, and was formalized on 20 April 1923 with the creation of "Radio Society of Rio de Janeiro." [348]

Television in Brazil began officially on 18 September 1950, with the founding of TV Tupi by Assis Chateaubriand. [349] Since then television has grown in the country, creating large commercial broadcast networks such as Globo, SBT, RecordTV, Bandeirantes and RedeTV. Today it is the most important factor in popular culture of Brazilian society, indicated by research showing that as much as 67% [350] [351] of the general population follow the same daily soap opera broadcast. Digital Television, using the SBTVD standard (based on the Japanese standard ISDB-T), was adopted on 29 June 2006 and launched on 2 November 2007. [352] In May 2010, the Brazilian government launched TV Brasil Internacional, an international television station, initially broadcasting to 49 countries. [353] Commercial television channels broadcast internationally include Globo Internacional, RecordTV Internacional and Band Internacional.


Population density of Brazilian municipalities ARCHELLA E THERY Img 05.png
Population density of Brazilian municipalities
Population [354] [355]

The population of Brazil, as recorded by the 2008 PNAD, was approximately 190 million [356] (22.31 inhabitants per square kilometre or 57.8/sq mi), with a ratio of men to women of 0.95:1 [357] and 83.75% of the population defined as urban. [358] The population is heavily concentrated in the Southeastern (79.8 million inhabitants) and Northeastern (53.5 million inhabitants) regions, while the two most extensive regions, the Center-West and the North, which together make up 64.12% of the Brazilian territory, have a total of only 29.1 million inhabitants.

The first census in Brazil was carried out in 1872 and recorded a population of 9,930,478. [359] From 1880 to 1930, 4 million Europeans arrived. [360] Brazil's population increased significantly between 1940 and 1970, because of a decline in the mortality rate, even though the birth rate underwent a slight decline. In the 1940s the annual population growth rate was 2.4%, rising to 3.0% in the 1950s and remaining at 2.9% in the 1960s, as life expectancy rose from 44 to 54 years [361] and to 72.6 years in 2007. [362] It has been steadily falling since the 1960s, from 3.04% per year between 1950 and 1960 to 1.05% in 2008 and is expected to fall to a negative value of –0.29% by 2050 [363] thus completing the demographic transition. [364]

In 2008, the illiteracy rate was 11.48% [365] and among the youth (ages 15–19) 1.74%. It was highest (20.30%) in the Northeast, which had a large proportion of rural poor. [366] Illiteracy was high (24.18%) among the rural population and lower (9.05%) among the urban population. [367]

Race and ethnicity

Immigration Museum of the State of Sao Paulo in the neighborhood of Mooca, in Sao Paulo city. The Italian Brazilians are 15% of the population and the largest Italian community outside Italy. Fachada do Museu da Imigracao de Sao Paulo.JPG
Immigration Museum of the State of São Paulo in the neighborhood of Mooca, in São Paulo city. The Italian Brazilians are 15% of the population and the largest Italian community outside Italy.

According to the National Research by Household Sample (PNAD) of 2008, 48.43% of the population (about 92 million) described themselves as White; 43.80% (about 83 million) as Pardo (brown), 6.84% (about 13 million) as Black; 0.58% (about 1.1 million) as Asian; and 0.28% (about 536 thousand) as Amerindian (officially called indígena, Indigenous), while 0.07% (about 130 thousand) did not declare their race. [369]

In 2007, the National Indian Foundation estimated that Brazil has 67 different uncontacted tribes, up from their estimate of 40 in 2005. Brazil is believed to have the largest number of uncontacted peoples in the world. [370]

Since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, considerable genetic mixing between Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans has taken place in all regions of the country (with European ancestry being dominant nationwide according to the vast majority of all autosomal studies undertaken covering the entire population, accounting for between 65% to 77%). [371] [372] [373] [374]

Race and ethnicity in Brazil [375] [376] [377]

   White (47.7%)
   Pardo (Multiracial) (43.1%)
   Black (7.6%)
   Asian (1.1%)
   Natives (0.4%)

Brazilian society is more markedly divided by social class lines, although a high income disparity is found between race groups, so racism and classism can be conflated. Socially significant closeness to one racial group is taken in account more in the basis of appearance (phenotypes) rather than ancestry, to the extent that full siblings can pertain to different "racial" groups. [378] Socioeconomic factors are also significant, because a minority of pardos are likely to start declaring themselves White or Black if socially upward. [379] Skin color and facial features do not line quite well with ancestry (usually, Afro-Brazilians are evenly mixed and European ancestry is dominant in Whites and pardos with a significant non-European contribution, but the individual variation is great). [374] [380] [381] [382]

The brown population (officially called pardo in Portuguese, also colloquially moreno ) [383] [384] is a broad category that includes caboclos (assimilated Amerindians in general, and descendants of Whites and Natives), mulatos (descendants of primarily Whites and Afro-Brazilians) and cafuzos (descendants of Afro-Brazilians and Natives). [383] [384] [385] [386] [387] People of considerable Amerindian ancestry form the majority of the population in the Northern, Northeastern and Center-Western regions. [388]

Higher percents of Blacks, mulattoes and tri-racials can be found in the eastern coast of the Northeastern region from Bahia to Paraíba [387] [389] and also in northern Maranhão, [390] [391] southern Minas Gerais [392] and in eastern Rio de Janeiro. [387] [392] From the 19th century, Brazil opened its borders to immigration. About five million people from over 60 countries migrated to Brazil between 1808 and 1972, most of them of Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, German, Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arab origin. [393] [394] . Brazil has the second largest Jewish community in Latin America making up 0.06% of its population. [395]


Religion in Brazil (2010 Census)

   Catholicism (64.6%)
   Protestant (22.2%)
   Spiritism (2.0%)
  Other (3.2%)
  No religion (8.0%)

Roman Catholicism is the country's predominant faith. Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population. [396] [397] According to the 2010 Demographic Census (the PNAD survey does not inquire about religion), 64.63% of the population followed Roman Catholicism; 22.2% Protestantism; 2.0% Kardecist spiritism; 3.2% other religions, undeclared or undetermined; while 8.0% have no religion. [5]

Religion in Brazil was formed from the meeting of the Catholic Church with the religious traditions of enslaved African peoples and indigenous peoples. [398] . This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella of Brazilian Catholic Church, characterized by traditional Portuguese festivities, [399] and in some instances, Allan Kardec's Spiritism (a religion which incorporates elements of spiritualism and Christianity). Religious pluralism increased during the 20th century, [400] and the Protestant community has grown to include over 22% of the population. [401] The most common Protestant denominations are Evangelical Pentecostal ones. Other Protestant branches with a notable presence in the country include the Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Lutherans and the Reformed tradition. [402]

However, in the last ten years Protestantism, particularly in forms of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism, has spread in Brazil, while the proportion of Catholics has dropped significantly. [403] After Protestantism, individuals professing no religion are also a significant group, exceeding 8% of the population as of the 2010 census. The cities of Boa Vista, Salvador, and Porto Velho have the greatest proportion of Irreligious residents in Brazil. Teresina, Fortaleza, and Florianópolis were the most Roman Catholic in the country. [404] Greater Rio de Janeiro, not including the city proper, is the most irreligious and least Roman Catholic Brazilian periphery, while Greater Porto Alegre and Greater Fortaleza are on the opposite sides of the lists, respectively. [404]

1 cristor redentor 2014.jpg
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is one of the most famous religious statues worldwide [405] [406]

In October 2009, the Brazilian Senate approved and enacted by the President of Brazil in February 2010, an agreement with the Vatican, in which the Legal Statute of the Catholic Church in Brazil is recognized. The agreement confirmed norms that were normally complied with regarding religious education in public elementary schools (which also ensures the teaching of other beliefs), marriage and spiritual assistance in prisons and hospitals. The project was criticized by parliamentarians who understood the end of the secular state with the approval of the agreement. [408] [409]


According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) urban areas already concentrate 84.35% of the population, while the Southeast region remains the most populated one, with over 80 million inhabitants. [410] The largest urban agglomerations in Brazil are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte – all in the Southeastern Region – with 21.1, 12.3, and 5.1 million inhabitants respectively. [411] [412] [413] The majority of state capitals are the largest cities in their states, except for Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo, and Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina. [414]


Museum of the Portuguese Language in Sao Paulo city, Sao Paulo. Interior do Museu da Lingua Portuguesa em Sao Paulo, Brasil.jpg
Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paulo city, São Paulo.
Ocas of the Kuikuro people, Xingu Indigenous Park, Mato Grosso Parque Indigena do Xingu.jpg
Ocas of the Kuikuro people, Xingu Indigenous Park, Mato Grosso

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese [417] (Article 13 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil), which almost all of the population speaks and is virtually the only language used in newspapers, radio, television, and for business and administrative purposes. Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, making the language an important part of Brazilian national identity and giving it a national culture distinct from those of its Spanish-speaking neighbors. [418]

Brazilian Portuguese has had its own development, mostly similar to 16th-century Central and Southern dialects of European Portuguese [419] (despite a very substantial number of Portuguese colonial settlers, and more recent immigrants, coming from Northern regions, and in minor degree Portuguese Macaronesia), with a few influences from the Amerindian and African languages, especially West African and Bantu restricted to the vocabulary only. [420] As a result,[ citation needed ] the language is somewhat different, mostly in phonology, from the language of Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries (the dialects of the other countries, partly because of the more recent end of Portuguese colonialism in these regions, have a closer connection to contemporary European Portuguese). These differences are comparable to those between American and British English. [420]

In 1990, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which included representatives from all countries with Portuguese as the official language, reached an agreement on the reform of the Portuguese orthography to unify the two standards then in use by Brazil on one side and the remaining lusophone countries on the other. This spelling reform went into effect in Brazil on 1 January 2009. In Portugal, the reform was signed into law by the President on 21 July 2008 allowing for a six-year adaptation period, during which both orthographies will co-exist. The remaining CPLP countries are free to establish their own transition timetables. [421]

The sign language law legally recognized in 2002, [422] (the law was regulated in 2005) [423] the use of the Brazilian Sign Language, more commonly known by its Portuguese acronym LIBRAS, in education and government services. The language must be taught as a part of the education and speech and language pathology curricula. LIBRAS teachers, instructors and translators are recognized professionals. Schools and health services must provide access ("inclusion") to deaf people. [424]

Pomerode, Santa Catarina, is one of the municipalities with a cooficial language. In this region, Hunsruckisch and East Pomeranian, German dialects, are two of the minor languages (see Brazilian German). Festapomerana.jpg
Pomerode, Santa Catarina, is one of the municipalities with a cooficial language. In this region, Hunsrückisch and East Pomeranian, German dialects, are two of the minor languages (see Brazilian German).

Minority languages are spoken throughout the nation. One hundred and eighty Amerindian languages are spoken in remote areas and a significant number of other languages are spoken by immigrants and their descendants. [420] In the municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Nheengatu (a currently endangered South American creole language – or an 'anti-creole', according to some linguists – with mostly Indigenous Brazilian languages lexicon and Portuguese-based grammar that, together with its southern relative língua geral paulista, once was a major lingua franca in Brazil, [425] being replaced by Portuguese only after governmental prohibition led by major political changes)[ excessive detail? ], Baniwa and Tucano languages had been granted co-official status with Portuguese. [426]

There are significant communities of German (mostly the Brazilian Hunsrückisch, a High German language dialect) and Italian (mostly the Talian, a Venetian dialect) origins in the Southern and Southeastern regions, whose ancestors' native languages were carried along to Brazil, and which, still alive there, are influenced by the Portuguese language. [427] [428] Talian is officially a historic patrimony of Rio Grande do Sul, [429] and two German dialects possess co-official status in a few municipalities. [430] Italian is also recognized as ethnic language in the Santa Teresa microregion and Vila Velha (Espirito Santo state), and is taught as mandatory second language at school. [2]

Learning at least one second language (generally English or Spanish) is mandatory for all the 12 grades of the mandatory education system (primary and secondary education, there called ensino fundamental and ensino médio respectively). Brazil is the first country in South America to offer Esperanto to secondary students. [431]


Interior of the Sao Francisco Church and Convent in Salvador, Bahia, one of the richest expressions of Brazilian baroque. Puro ouro.jpg
Interior of the São Francisco Church and Convent in Salvador, Bahia, one of the richest expressions of Brazilian baroque.

The core culture of Brazil is derived from Portuguese culture, because of its strong colonial ties with the Portuguese Empire. [432] Among other influences, the Portuguese introduced the Portuguese language, Roman Catholicism and colonial architectural styles. The culture was, however, also strongly influenced by African, indigenous and non-Portuguese European cultures and traditions. [433] Some aspects of Brazilian culture were influenced by the contributions of Italian, German and other European as well as Japanese, Jewish and Arab immigrants who arrived in large numbers in the South and Southeast of Brazil during the 19th and 20th centuries. [434] The indigenous Amerindians influenced Brazil's language and cuisine; and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion. [435]

Brazilian art has developed since the 16th century into different styles that range from Baroque (the dominant style in Brazil until the early 19th century) [436] [437] to Romanticism, Modernism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstractionism. Brazilian cinema dates back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century and has gained a new level of international acclaim since the 1960s. [438]


The architecture of Brazil is influenced by Europe, especially Portugal. It has a history that goes back 500 years to the time when Pedro Cabral discovered Brazil in 1500. Portuguese colonial architecture was the first wave of architecture to go to Brazil. [439] It is the basis for all Brazilian architecture of later centuries. [440] In the 19th century during the time of the Empire of Brazil, Brazil followed European trends and adopted Neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture. Then in the 20th century especially in Brasilia, Brazil experimented with Modernist architecture.

The colonial architecture of Brazil dates to the early 16th century when Brazil was first explored, conquered and settled by the Portuguese. The Portuguese built architecture familiar to them in Europe in their aim to colonize Brazil. They built Portuguese colonial architecture which included churches, civic architecture including houses and forts in Brazilian cities and the countryside. During 19th century Brazilian architecture saw the introduction of more European styles to Brazil such as Neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture. This was usually mixed with Brazilian influences from their own heritage which produced a unique form of Brazilian architecture. In the 1950s the modernist architecture was introduced when Brasilia was built as new federal capital in the interior of Brazil to help develop the interior. The architect Oscar Niemeyer idealized and built government buildings, churches and civic buildings in the modernist style. [441] [442]


Heitor Vila-Lobos (c. 1922)part.jpg
Heitor Villa-Lobos, the most widely known South American composer. [443]
Tom Jobim e Chico Buarque no Festival Internacional da Cancao (FIC).tif
Tom Jobim, one of the creators of bossa nova , and Chico Buarque, one of the leading names of MPB.

The music of Brazil was formed mainly from the fusion of European and African elements. [444] Until the nineteenth century, Portugal was the gateway to most of the influences that built Brazilian music, although many of these elements were not of Portuguese origin, but generally European. The first was José Maurício Nunes Garcia, author of sacred pieces with influence of Viennese classicism. [445] The major contribution of the African element was the rhythmic diversity and some dances and instruments that had a bigger role in the development of popular music and folk, flourishing especially in the twentieth century. [444]

Popular music since the late eighteenth century began to show signs of forming a characteristically Brazilian sound, with samba considered the most typical and on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. [446] Maracatu and Afoxê are two Afro-Brazilian music traditions that have been popularized by their appearance in the annual Brazilian Carnivals. [447] The sport of capoeira is usually played with its own music referred to as capoeira music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music. [448] Forró is a type of folk music prominent during the Festa Junina in northeastern Brazil. [449] Jack A. Draper III, a professor of Portuguese at the University of Missouri, [450] argues that Forró was used as a way to subdue feelings of nostalgia for a rural lifestyle. [451]

Choro is a very popular music instrumental style. Its origins are in 19th-century Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style often has a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by virtuosity, improvisation, subtle modulations and full of syncopation and counterpoint. [452] Bossa nova is also a well-known style of Brazilian music developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. [453] The phrase "bossa nova" means literally "new trend". [454] A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following starting in the 1960s. [455]


Machado de Assis aos 57 anos.jpg
Machado de Assis, poet and novelist, founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade, 1970.tif
Carlos Drummond de Andrade, considered by some as the greatest Brazilian poet. [456]

Brazilian literature dates back to the 16th century, to the writings of the first Portuguese explorers in Brazil, such as Pêro Vaz de Caminha, filled with descriptions of fauna, flora and commentary about the indigenous population that fascinated European readers. [457]

Brazil produced significant works in Romanticism – novelists like Joaquim Manuel de Macedo and José de Alencar wrote novels about love and pain. Alencar, in his long career, also treated indigenous people as heroes in the Indigenist novels O Guarani , Iracema and Ubirajara . [458] Machado de Assis, one of his contemporaries, wrote in virtually all genres and continues to gain international prestige from critics worldwide. [459] [460] [461]

Brazilian Modernism, evidenced by the Week of Modern Art in 1922, was concerned with a nationalist avant-garde literature, [462] while Post-Modernism brought a generation of distinct poets like João Cabral de Melo Neto, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Vinicius de Moraes, Cora Coralina, Graciliano Ramos, Cecília Meireles, and internationally known writers dealing with universal and regional subjects like Jorge Amado, João Guimarães Rosa, Clarice Lispector and Manuel Bandeira. [463] [464] [465]


Brigadeiro is a national candy and one most and is recognized as one of the main dishes of Brazilian cuisine.
Pao de queijo com cafe.jpg
Pão de queijo with coffee and a small cachaça bottle, examples of the cuisine from the interior of Brazil.

Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's varying mix of indigenous and immigrant populations. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences. [466] Examples are Feijoada, considered the country's national dish; [467] and regional foods such as beiju, feijão tropeiro, vatapá, moqueca, polenta (from Italian cuisine) and acarajé (from African cuisine). [468]

The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazil's native liquor. Cachaça is distilled from sugar cane and is the main ingredient in the national cocktail, Caipirinha. [469]

A typical meal consists mostly of rice and beans with beef, salad, french fries and a fried egg. [470] Often, it is mixed with cassava flour (farofa). Fried potatoes, fried cassava, fried banana, fried meat and fried cheese are very often eaten in lunch and served in most typical restaurants. [471] Popular snacks are pastel (a fried pastry); coxinha (a variation of chicken croquete); pão de queijo (cheese bread and cassava flour / tapioca); pamonha (corn and milk paste); esfirra (a variation of Lebanese pastry); kibbeh (from Arabic cuisine); empanada (pastry) and empada, little salt pies filled with shrimps or heart of palm.

Brazil has a variety of desserts such as brigadeiros (chocolate fudge balls), bolo de rolo (roll cake with goiabada), cocada (a coconut sweet), beijinhos (coconut truffles and clove) and romeu e julieta (cheese with goiabada). Peanuts are used to make paçoca, rapadura and pé-de-moleque. Local common fruits like açaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, cocoa, cashew, guava, orange, lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and hog plum are turned in juices and used to make chocolates, ice pops and ice cream. [472]


Palacio festivais.jpg
Festival de Gramado, the biggest film festival in the country

The Brazilian film industry began in the late 19th century, during the early days of the Belle Époque. While there were national film productions during the early 20th century, American films such as Rio the Magnificent were made in Rio de Janeiro to promote tourism in the city. [473] The films Limite (1931) and Ganga Bruta (1933), the latter being produced by Adhemar Gonzaga through the prolific studio Cinédia, were poorly received at release and failed at the box office, but are acclaimed nowadays and placed among the finest Brazilian films of all time. [474] The 1941 unfinished film It's All True was divided in four segments, two of which were filmed in Brazil and directed by Orson Welles; it was originally produced as part of the United States' Good Neighbor Policy during Getúlio Vargas' Estado Novo government.

During the 1960s, the Cinema Novo movement rose to prominence with directors such as Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Paulo Cesar Saraceni and Arnaldo Jabor. Rocha's films Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964) and Terra em Transe (1967) are considered to be some of the greatest and most influential in Brazilian film history. [475]

During the 1990s, Brazil saw a surge of critical and commercial success with films such as O Quatrilho (Fábio Barreto, 1995), O Que É Isso, Companheiro? (Bruno Barreto, 1997) and Central do Brasil (Walter Salles, 1998), all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the latter receiving a Best Actress nomination for Fernanda Montenegro. The 2002 crime film City of God , directed by Fernando Meirelles, was critically acclaimed, scoring 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, [476] being placed in Roger Ebert's Best Films of the Decade list [477] and receiving four Academy Award nominations in 2004, including Best Director. Notable film festivals in Brazil include the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festivals and the Gramado Festival.


Teatro Municipal de Sao Paulo 8.jpg
São Paulo Municipal Theater, significant both for its architectural value as well as for its historical importance.
01 - teatro Amazonas.jpg
Interior of the Teatro Amazonas, in Manaus.

The theatre in Brazil has its origins in the period of Jesuit expansion when theater was used for the dissemination of Catholic doctrine in the 16th century. in the 17th and 18th centuries the first dramatists who appeared on the scene of European derivation was for court or private performances. [478] During the 19th century, dramatic theater gained importance and thickness, whose first representative was Luis Carlos Martins Pena (1813–1848), capable of describing contemporary reality. Always in this period the comedy of costume and comic production was imposed. Significant, also in the nineteenth century, was also the playwright Antônio Gonçalves Dias. [479] There were also numerous operas and orchestras. The Brazilian conductor Antônio Carlos Gomes became internationally known with operas like Il Guarany . At the end of the 19th century orchestrated dramaturgias became very popular and were accompanied with songs of famous artists like the conductress Chiquinha Gonzaga. [480]

Already in the early 20th century there was the presence of theaters, entrepreneurs and actor companies, but paradoxically the quality of the products staggered, and only in 1940 the Brazilian theater received a boost of renewal thanks to the action of Paschoal Carlos Magno and his student's theater, the comedians group and the Italian actors Adolfo Celi, Ruggero Jacobbi and Aldo Calvo, founders of the Teatro Brasileiro de Comedia. From the 1960s it was attended by a theater dedicated to social and religious issues and to the flourishing of schools of dramatic art. The most prominent authors at this stage were Jorge Andrade and Ariano Suassuna. [479]

Visual arts

The Night escorted by the geniuses of Love and Study, by Pedro Américo
Discovery of the Land1.jpg
Discovery of the Land mural, by Brazilian painter Candido Portinari, at the Library of Congress

Brazilian painting emerged in the late 16th century, [481] influenced by Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Cubism and Abstracionism making it a major art style called Brazilian academic art. [482] [483] The Missão Artística Francesa (French Artistic Mission) arrived in Brazil in 1816 proposing the creation of an art academy modeled after the respected Académie des Beaux-Arts, with graduation courses both for artists and craftsmen for activities such as modeling, decorating, carpentry and others and bringing artists like Jean-Baptiste Debret. [483]

Upon the creation of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, new artistic movements spread across the country during the 19th century and later the event called Week of Modern Art broke definitely with academic tradition in 1922 and started a nationalist trend which was influenced by modernist arts. Among the best-known Brazilian painters are Ricardo do Pilar and Manuel da Costa Ataíde (baroque and rococo), Victor Meirelles, Pedro Américo and Almeida Junior (romanticism and realism), Anita Malfatti, Ismael Nery, Lasar Segall, Emiliano di Cavalcanti, Vicente do Rego Monteiro, and Tarsila do Amaral (expressionism, surrealism and cubism), Aldo Bonadei, José Pancetti and Cândido Portinari (modernism). [484]


Brasil conquista primeiro ouro olimpico nos penaltis 1039264-20082016- mg 4348.jpg
Players at the podium with the first Olympic Gold of the Brazil national football team, won in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Football is the most popular sport in the country.
Ayrton Senna 8.jpg
Ayrton Senna, who won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 1988, 1990 and 1991, is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. [485]

The most popular sport in Brazil is football. [486] The Brazilian men's national team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings, and has won the World Cup tournament a record five times. [487] [488]

Volleyball, basketball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. The Brazil men's national volleyball team, for example, currently holds the titles of the World League, World Grand Champions Cup, World Championship and the World Cup. In auto racing, three Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times. [489] [490] [491]

Some sport variations have their origins in Brazil: beach football, [492] futsal (indoor football) [493] and footvolley emerged in Brazil as variations of football. In martial arts, Brazilians developed Capoeira, [494] Vale tudo, [495] and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. [496]

Closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. Terminam os Jogos Olimpicos Rio 2016 (29040726262).jpg
Closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, like the 1950 FIFA World Cup [497] and recently has hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Copa América. [498] The São Paulo circuit, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil. [499] São Paulo organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963, and Rio de Janeiro hosted the XV Pan American Games in 2007. [500] On 2 October 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games and 2016 Paralympic Games, making it the first South American city to host the games [501] and second in Latin America, after Mexico City. Furthermore, the country hosted the FIBA Basketball World Cups in 1954 and 1963. At the 1963 event, the Brazil national basketball team won one of its two world championship titles. [502]

National holidays

DateLocal nameNameObservation
1 JanuaryConfraternização Universal New Year's Day Beginning of the calendar year
21 AprilTiradentes Tiradentes In honor of the martyr of the Minas Conspiracy
1 MayDia do Trabalhador Labor Day Tribute to all workers
7 SeptemberIndependência Independence of Brazil Proclamation of Independence against Portugal
12 OctoberNossa Senhora Aparecida Our Lady of Aparecida Patroness of Brazil
2 NovemberFinados All Souls' Day Day of remembrance for the dead
15 NovemberProclamação da RepúblicaProclamation of the RepublicTransformation of Empire into Republic
25 DecemberNatalChristmasTraditional Christmas celebration

See also


  1. European Portuguese:  [bɾɐˈziɫ]

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Fluminense FC Brazilian sports club best known for its professional football team

Fluminense Football Club, known simply as Fluminense, is a Brazilian sports club best known for its professional football team that competes in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, the first tier of Brazilian football and the Campeonato Carioca, the state league of Rio de Janeiro. The club is based in the neighbourhood of Laranjeiras, in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

São Paulo–Congonhas Airport airport

São Paulo/Congonhas–Deputado Freitas Nobre Airport[kõˈɡõɲɐs] is one of the four commercial airports serving São Paulo, Brazil. The airport is named after the neighborhood where it is located, formerly called Vila Congonhas, property of the descendants of Lucas Antônio Monteiro de Barros (1767–1851), Viscount of Congonhas do Campo, first president of the Province of São Paulo after the independence of Brazil in 1822, during the Empire. In turn, the Viscount's domain was named after the plural of a shrub known in Brazil as congonha-do-campo. Since June 19, 2017 it is officially named after Deputy Freitas Nobre. The name Congonhas however remains mostly used. It is owned by the City of São Paulo, but operated by Infraero.

Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, popularly known by its original name Galeão International Airport, is the main airport serving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2019, it was the country's fourth-busiest airport by passenger traffic. It is named after Praia do Galeão, located in front of the original passenger terminal and where in 1663 the galleon Padre Eterno was built; and since January 5, 1999 also after the Brazilian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim. Galeão Airport is explicitly mentioned in his composition Samba do avião. It is the largest airport site in terms of area in Brazil.

Santos Dumont Airport Airport in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport is the second major airport serving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is named after the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont (1873–1932). It is operated by Infraero.

White Brazilians refers to Brazilian citizens of European and Middle Eastern descent. According to the 2010 Census, they totaled 91,051,646 people and made up 47.73% of the Brazilian population.

Tourism in Brazil

Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of Brazil. The country had 6.589 million visitors in 2018, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the second main destination in South America after Argentina and third in Latin America after Mexico and Argentina. Revenues from international tourists reached US$5.8 billion in 2015, continuing a recovery trend from the 2008-2009 economic crisis.

History of the Jews in Brazil

The history of the Jews in Brazil is a rather long and complex one, as it stretches from the very beginning of the European settlement in the new continent. Although only baptized Christians were subject to the Inquisition, Jews started settling in Brazil when the Inquisition reached Portugal, in the 16th century. They arrived in Brazil during the period of Dutch rule, setting up in Recife the first synagogue in the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, as early as 1636. Most of those Jews were Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal to the religious freedom of the Netherlands.

Panair do Brasil 1929-1965 airline in Brazil

Panair do Brasil was an airline of Brazil. Between 1945 and 1965 it was considered to be the largest carrier not only in Brazil but in all of Latin America. It ceased operations in 1965.

Serviços Aéreos Cruzeiro do Sul 1927–1993 Brazilian airline

Serviços Aéreos Cruzeiro do Sul was the second oldest airline of Brazil, tracing its origins to 1927, when it was founded as Syndicato Condor, a subsidiary of Deutsche Luft Hansa. Syndicato Condor retained rights and interests of a former German trade company, Condor Syndikat, which previously operated passenger and mail services in Brazil. It was renamed Cruzeiro do Sul in 1943. In 1975, Varig, a Brazilian airline which shared very similar origins, acquired its controlling shares. In 1993, it was finally merged into Varig.

Alberto Henschel German-Brazilian photographer

Alberto Henschel was a German-Brazilian photographer born in Berlin. Considered the hardest-working photographer and businessman in 19th-century Brazil, with offices in Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, Henschel was also responsible for the presence of other professional photographers in the country, including his compatriot Karl Ernst Papf—with whom he later worked.

The Brazil Open or Aberto do Brasil is an annual golf tournament held in Brazil. It was founded in 1945 and was an event on the Tour de las Américas on several occasions, most recently in 2005. It is now an event on PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

2009 swine flu pandemic in Brazil

The 2009 swine flu pandemic in Brazil began on April 25, 2009 with two people, spreading to 34 over the first two weeks. CDC calculate that Africa and Southeast Asia, which have 38% of the world's population, accounted for a disproportionate 51% of the deaths.

Empresa de Transportes Aéreos Aerovias Brasil S/A was a Brazilian airline founded in 1942. It was merged into Varig in 1961, when Varig bought the Consórcio Real-Aerovias-Nacional, of which Aerovias Brasil was one of the partners.

Varig 1927–2006 airline in Brazil, flag-carrier and first airline founded in Brazil

VARIG was the first airline founded in Brazil, in 1927. From 1965 until 1990, it was Brazil's leading airline, and virtually its only international one. In 2005, Varig went into judicial restructuring, and in 2006 it was split into two companies – Flex Linhas Aéreas, informally known as "old" Varig, heir to the original airline –now defunct, and "new" Varig, a new company, fully integrated into Gol Airlines.

Anna Maria Niemeyer Brazilian architect

Anna Maria Niemeyer (1929–2012) was a Brazilian architect, furniture designer and gallery owner. The only daughter of Oscar Niemeyer, she worked with her father to design the civic buildings for Brasília, focusing primarily on interior spaces and decoration. When her father decided to make furniture to harmonize his structures with the design elements, she turned her interest to furniture designing. Her two most noted designs were the initial prototype called the "Alta" and the "Rio". In her latter career, she ran an art gallery in Rio, which at one time was the only gallery in the city, and assisted in the creation of the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum.

This is a timeline of Brazilian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Brazil and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Brazil.

Ivan Serpa Brazilian painter, draftsman, printmaker, designer, and educator who founded Grupo Frente

Ivan Ferreira Serpa was a Brazilian painter, draftsman, printmaker, designer, and educator active in the concrete art movement. Much of his work was in geometric abstractionism. He founded Grupo Frente, which included fellow artists Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, and Franz Weissmann, among others, and was known for mentoring many artists in Brazil.


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